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Carbon Conversations at an enterprise
The eight participants came from three different sites of DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences. Pam Candea and Tony Herrmann from Surefoot conducted two days of facilitator training preceded by a one day session where the group were participants in an abridged version of the 6 Carbon Conversations sessions at DuPont’s office in Copenhagen.
One year after the final training, Surefoot interviewed those available from the group of trained facilitators to determine the impact Carbon Conversations has had on the organisation. It was pointed out by the facilitators that it was valuable and rewarding to engage colleagues in Carbon Conversations as well as it required dedicated, persistent efforts to run the first set of workshops.
This full report focuses on the practical set-up of Carbon Conversations and the outcome for DuPont based on
The set-up within the company
The facilitators recruited colleagues, prepared for each session, conducted and evaluated the completed series of workshops with input from the participants. At Brabrand (one of the three sites) three facilitators worked together to deliver the Carbon Conversations workshop sessions for eight participants. The sessions were conducted during work hours at the company. In between the sessions, the facilitators met to organise the work-sharing and gather additional material for DuPont and Danish contexts.
The group at another site, Grindsted, went through the planned six sessions, with 4 - 8 people at each session with two facilitators present.
In February 2020, the facilitators at Brabrand started a second group with 10 new participants.
Outcomes at DuPont
Carbon Conversations is viewed as one element of several environmentally friendly activities, and has sped up processes in certain areas. The setup of Carbon Conversations workshops, and for the company this unusual way of running meetings and handling topics, has brought in new ways of viewing climate challenges. The sessions have illuminated the complexity of climate change challenges, and that there is not always one answer, one action, to solve the challenges.
In answer to what was the best part of being a facilitator, some of the answers were:
“To use my personal passion with others”
“It gives me more energy, even it has been hard work”
“It’s incredible rewarding to bring new thoughts to people”
“The response has so far been solely positive”
“I feel we are creating a movement.”
After running the planned six sessions, the facilitators at one site created a seventh session to make an idea catalogue of possible solutions derived from the participants’ ideas. A sustainability group has been formed since starting the Carbon Conversations. This group works with initiatives like solar panels on the site, use of ceramic cups instead of disposable cups, and letting the grass grow in certain areas to enhance the biodiversity.
Using Carbon Conversation as tool in harmony with the company’s set of values and the actions it takes can be a driving force and positive experience for members of staff:
“I am glad that the company is now taking it into the whole organisation. It is based on the support of the three sponsors, three leading units in the company. In the big ‘helicopter view’ many companies have a noble set of values. To me, it is important that the set of values is being converted in reality. I am proud of being a part of DuPont which is taking action.”
Indirectly, Carbon Conversations are also affecting employees who have not been participating at any of the sessions:
Suggestions on environmentally friendly activities from people in DuPont who haven’t even been participating in the workshop.”
Employees have heard about the workshops via colleagues, intranet, and morning meetings where the facilitators have been presented.